Stroke – getting help FAST

20/06/2011

Only a hospital test can confirm a stroke for sure, but it’s important to know the signs, and be able to respond quickly, if you suspect someone is having a stroke. The national campaign ‘Stroke – Act F.A.S.T’ helps you to know what to look for.

A stroke is a ‘brain attack’ caused by a disturbance of the blood supply to the brain.

 

Know the signs

Only a hospital test can confirm a stroke for sure, but it’s important to know the signs, and be able to respond quickly, if you suspect someone is having a stroke. The national campaign ‘Stroke – Act F.A.S.T’ helps you to know what to look for:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time – time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs

Call 999

  • By calling 999, you can help someone reach hospital quickly and receive the early treatment they need.
  • Prompt action can prevent further damage to the brain and help someone make a full recovery.
  • Delay can result in death or major long-term disabilities, such as paralysis, severe memory loss and communication problems.
  • When you come into A&E at any of our hospitals you will be quickly seen and treated, and admitted to hospital if needed.

The services we offer

The Belfast Trust offers a range of services for people who have suffered a stroke providing both treatment and rehabilitation. These include hospital and community based services.


Types of Stroke

There are two main types of stroke, which require different types of treatment:

Ischaemic stroke
The most common form of stroke. It is caused by a clot narrowing or blocking blood vessels so that blood cannot reach a particular area of the brain. This leads to the death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen.

Haemorrhagic stroke
Caused when a weakened blood vessel in the brain bursts. This produces bleeding into the brain, which leads to damage.

Read more about treating stroke on the NHS choices website